The search engine consumers use to find a brand's website impacts both their perception of that brand and the decisions they make while on the site, according to new research by Wunderman, ZAAZ, and Compete.
"Search begins with the choice of search engine," said David Sable, vice chairman and COO of Wunderman. "What this means if you are managing a brand is this: you need to know how consumers relate to Bing, Yahoo! or Google and how that reflects on you."
Loyal users of Bing, Yahoo and Google were found to have distinct characteristics that benefit some brands more than others.
The search experience on different search engines offers different results, with some being more relevant to the consumer than others. This contributes to overall customer and brand awareness. If the search results satisfy the needs of the consumer, then the search engine has greater appeal to that potential customer leading to a deeper connection to the brand and the search engine.
"This research demonstrates that marketers have a real choice to make when formulating search strategies," said Shane Atchison, CEO of ZAAZ.
"The search engine acts as a kind of 'train' on the Internet. Each train provides a different set of unique results or 'destinations.' Consumer preference for a specific train demonstrates a unique demographic and psychographic profile."
The study found two reasons why different brands do better with different search engines:
- It's About Who You Are: The demographic and psychographic profile of each loyal search engine user is different. Bing users, for example, tend to be mostly from the tip of the adoption curve (innovators and early adopters) where Yahoo! and Google's passengers tend to be middle majority (see accompanying chart).
- It's About the Road You Take: Each search engine delivers a different result, whether paid for or earned. In the brands and vertical categories studied (automotive, travel, retail, and wireless), each search engine demonstrated different degrees of consumer engagement ranging from visiting to finally purchasing.